1951-1960

Andrew L. Stone – Cry Terror! (1958)

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Plot:
A wife, a daughter, a steady job. Yesterday Jim Molner was an ordinary guy. Today he’s a desperate man, frantically trying to save himself and his family, held hostage by a demented terrorist who’s demanding $500,000 not to detonate a bomb he’s planted on a domestic airliner. James Mason and Rod Steiger head an “A” cast in a jolting, psychology-driven thriller that, like The Desperate Hours, Suddenly and other 1950s films, turns home sweet home into the tense site of a family held hostage. Cry Terror! adds a sweaty layer of sexual tension as well, provided by Angie Dickinson as the terrorist’s sinuous moll and Neville Brand as his benny-addled henchman, salivating over Molner’s distraught wife (Inger Stevens). From Warner Brothers! Read More »

Henri-Georges Clouzot – Le Mystére Picasso (1956)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson:
Released shortly after Luciano Emmer’s documentary Picasso, H. G. Clouzot’s Le Mystère Picasso managed to attain better international bookings than the earlier film, largely on the strength of Clouzot’s worldwide hit Les Diaboliques. Like Emmer before him, Clouzot offers rare and precious glimpses of Pablo Picasso at work. The film traces two of the artist’s paintings, from inception to pencil sketch to final product. The director comes as close as humanly possible to defining the genius of Picasso within the parameters of the camera lens. Oddly, Le Mystère Picasso does not appear on many of the “official” lists of Clouzot’s films, even though it won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Read More »

Andrew L. Stone – The Night Holds Terror (1955)

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Plot:
A group of escaped convicts take over a suburban home to evade the ongoing police manhunt, making the lives of the family living there a nightmare. The longer the men stay there, the more the tensions build and the more likely it becomes a tragedy will occur. Based on a real-life hostage-taking. Read More »

George C. Stoney – All My Babies (1952)

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Quote:
One of the first and most important films to treat child birth as a human event and to show it fully. This documentary of a compassionate Black midwife at work in the deep South remained restricted to medical personnel for many years. One cannot recall a more moving, humanist portrayal of the wonder and pain of the event. Read More »

Otto Preminger – Bonjour tristesse (1958)

Synopsis:
Cecile, decadent young girl who lives with her rich playboy father Raymond. When Anne, Raymond’s old love interest, comes to Raymond’s villa, Cecile is afraid for her way of life. Read More »

Joris Ivens, Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani – L’Italia non è un paese povero (1960)

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According to Carlos Böker’s thesis, Joris Ivens, Film-Maker: Facing Reality (“Studies in Photography and Cinematography, No. 1”, UMI Research Press, 1978):

Quote:
…… Ivens was approached by Enrico Mattei, head of ENI, the Italian State Natural Gas Monopoly. Mattei, who died mysteriously in an air crash in 1962, and was the subject of a later film by Francesco Rosi (Il caso Mattei, The Mattei Affair, 1972), had been put in charge of ENI on the understanding that he would wind it up. However, he expanded its activities and investment programme against much internal political opposition and external opposition from the US-controlled multinational oil firms. Ivens’s films, collectively entitled Italia non è un Paese povero, were to be shown on television. The first part, Fuochi della Val Padana (Fire in the Po Valley), deals with the extraction and distribution of methane in the Po Valley. The second part is divided in two: Due città (Two Cities), devoted to Venice (Porto Maghera) and Ravenna, is a treatment of the production of agipgaz and its by-products; and La storia di due alberi (The Story of Two Trees), set in Lucania, which contrasts the impoverishment of peasant life in a southern village, where seven families are dependent on one olive tree, with the future benefits to come through the newly exploited natural resource (mechanisms for controlling the gas outlets, lit up at night, are called “Christmas trees”). Read More »

Yakov Bazelyan & Sergei Parajanov – Andriesh (1954)

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Андриеш

Quote:
The feature length version of Andriesh (Kyiv Film Studio 1955) is a straight forward example of the Soviet fairytale film genre. In the film, the young shepherd Andriesh is charged with guarding the village’s flock of sheep. There Andriesh meets Voinovan, a bogatyr (hero) who gives the young boy his magic wooden flute. Black Storm, a wicked sorcerer who despises the flute’s joyous music, descends upon the village in human form, hypnotizes and kidnaps Voinovan’s beloved Liana, sets the village aflame, and steals its flock. Andriesh undertakes a journey to confront Black Storm and meets various individuals who help him, while Voinovan amasses an army of Haiduks (mercenary soldiers) with sun tempered maces to battle the sorcerer. Read More »